By Bob Katzen
TheHouse 35-123, rejected a proposed House rule to reduce the scheduling conflicts between formal House sessions and committee hearings. Formal sessions are ones at which important legislation is often considered by the full House and sometimes includes roll call votes.
Current rules prohibit committee hearings “insofar as practical” from being scheduled at the same time as formal sessions of the House. The proposed rule would prohibit committee hearings from being scheduled at the same time as formal sessions unless there is an emergency and the chair of the committee submits to the House a written description of the emergency.
Supporters said the current rule is weak and vague. They argued that legislators shouldn’t have to choose between attending an important committee hearing and a key meeting of the full House.
Opponents said committee hearings are scheduled well in advance in order to give citizens adequate notice to arrange their schedules to be there. They noted that if this proposed rule is implemented, the House will inconvenience the public when it reschedules a committee hearing to another day. They argued that current rules already allow some flexibility and have been working well.